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It’s labelled the New York of Down Under and has more culture than a glass of organic kombucha, but making the most of this cosmopolitan city doesn’t have to break your bank account.
So, if you’re the type of person who treats your AFL team like family and would describe your relationship with the local barista as ‘intimate’, Melbourne is a must-visit.
We’ve put together your go-to guide to discovering the city that brought us Aussie greats like Bert Newton, John Farnham and Feliks Zemdegs* - and every activity has some serious health benefits.
Our top tip? BYO umbrella and keep cup.
It wouldn’t be a visit to Melbourne without a trip to the theatre and it just so happens that attending live theatre can enhance your knowledge, tolerance and empathy . Melbourne is renowned for its thriving arts scene and you don’t have to empty out your coin purse to experience a show. Head to Only Melbourne for a list of current shows – there’s something for every budget.
Cost: from $79
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk down a seven-story building face first? Nope, neither. However, giving your body a bit of adrenalin can have benefits. A research team published a study in Cell00715-4) suggesting that mildly increased levels of stress hormones may slow down the growth of cancerous tumours. So, it might not be such a bad idea to take the leap off Bar334 with Melbourne’s Rap Jumping. The best bit? It will only set you back $79, meaning you’ll have enough change to splurge on some Italian food from Lygon St afterwards.
Cost: $12 booking fee
Did you know that pets can seriously help your health? And, if felines tickle your fancy, look no further than Melbourne’s Cat Café – the first of its kind in Australia. Guests are invited to book in for hourly sessions to cuddle kittens rescued from animal shelters while enjoying a selection of coffee and cakes.
Cost: from $69
Whether you’re an art lover from way back, or you simply need a new profile pic for Instagram, taking a street art tour of Melbourne is a must. Guides will treat you to some of Melbourne’s underground treasures and explain the technical aspects of street art while you’re led through hidden laneways and arcades – you’ll spend hours exercising without even noticing!
Cost: $50 per person
If you’re visiting Melbourne, you’ve got to add a game of AFL to the itinerary. Between March and September, the city becomes abuzz with proud fans donning their team colours and it turns out that watching a game of sport can have some real benefits for your brain. A 2008 study from the University of Chicago showed that watching sports increases activity in motor areas associated with planning, controlling and performing. General admission tickets shouldn’t set you back more than $50 and if you’re looking for a game that won’t disappoint, a Richmond Tigers’ match is a must.
*Two-time Rubik’s cube world champion